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European Migration Forum – 3rd meeting

Migrants' access to the EU, to rights and to services - Challenges and ways forward Meeting - European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Rue Belliard 99, 1040 Brussels, Belgium

The European Migration Forum – the civil society dialogue platform on migration, asylum and migrant integration – met for the third time on 2nd and 3rd of March 2017 at the EESC's headquarters.

The topic of the 3rd European Migration Forum was chosen following consultations with civil society representatives and it addressed the key issue of ACCESS: migrants' access to Europe, to rights and to services. In a nutshell, the meeting included a discussion on safe legal alternatives to the perilous journeys migrants undertake, as well as a reflection on the way migrants could access services upon their arrival, together with the rights to which they are entitled to, and how to ensure continuation of such provisions to facilitate their integration process. Moreover, an underlining theme was that of communication and the media – changing the current narrative on migration, with a view to explore how public discourse could influence public perceptions on migration and integration of migrants in receiving communities.

The event had an interactive, participatory approach. The Forum featured an opening and closing plenary, but the core of the event consisted of workshops, discussion islands and other opportunities to participate in the debate.

The participants included NGOs (selected through this public call for expressions of interest), practitioners from local and regional authorities, representatives of the Member States and members of the EESC Permanent Group on Immigration and Integration.

The European Migration Forum, organised by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee, is a platform for dialogue between civil society and the European institutions on issues relating to migration, asylum and the integration of third-country nationals.

The purpose of the Forum is to enhance coordination and cooperation between key players. It also informs EU decision-making in the areas of migration, asylum and integration. The Forum's work will ensure that the European institutions are better informed about the main challenges that civil society organisations and social partners face on the ground and about how to contribute more constructively to efforts to meet migrants' needs.